Canadian Qualifier Felix Auger-Aliassime Becomes Youngest Miami Open Semifinalist
(March 27, 2019) MIAMI, FL – Canadian Qualifier Felix Auger-Aliassime at 18 years-old, became the youngest Miami semifinalist in the tournament’s history on Wednesday night when he upset No. 11 seed Borna Coric of Croatia 7-6(3), 6-2 inside Hard Rock Stadium.
“Playing Borna, who’s been established for a few years now, I definitely didn’t expect to win,” said the Canadian.
“I expected more, a set like in the first. But the second really surprised me. I felt like I had margin over him, had a bit of an edge. I just felt really comfortable out there from the first balls.”
The Canadian began the year ranked No. 108, now in the live ranking he’s No. 33 in the world.
“A lot of things are working, obviously. I think I have been just improving in the last couple of weeks,” he said. “But I don’t want to look back right now. I think I will do at the end of the tournament. Right now I’m looking forward to the next match and how far I can go in this tournament. Definitely I will take some time back home to reset and think about what happened.”
He’ll take on the defending champion John Isner for a spot in the final on Sunday.
Auger-Aliassime talked about how he’ll play Isner in the semifinals. “Obviously I think maybe I’ll have to maybe adjust my return position. Maybe see the stats where he’s serving best, look at the match how he played today in these tiebreaks, to see where he likes serving on important points.
“From there, you know, just focus on myself, what I have to do first, and then figure out a way to break him.”
In his quarterfinal match, defending champion Isner beat the man who upset Novak Djokovic, Roberto Bautista Agut 7-6(1), 7-6(5).
Roger Federer completed a match rescheduled for Wednesday, due to rain and defeated No. 13 seed Daniil Medvedev of Russia, 6-4, 6-2.
This will be the 11th quarterfinal in Miami for the Swiss No. 4 seed when he takes on Kevin Anderson on Thursday night. Anderson, who is back from an elbow injury, beat Jordan Thompson on Tuesday.
“I think it’s going to be a bit tricky,” Federer said about his upcoming match. “He’s got a great serve, so you go back to big-serve mentality to try to hold your own service games first before thinking about how to break Kevin.
“Had a tough one against him at Wimbledon when I lost. Was able to come back and play a good match against him in London when I really had to in that round-robin match.
“But, you know, I think I’m feeling really good. Today’s match I can be really happy with.”
“He’s got a great serve. Look, I’m happy he’s playing again after his injury. I mean, I think if you beat me at Wimbledon, you’ve got my attention.
“So from that standpoint, I know what I’m about to expect tomorrow. The matches I have played against him I know can be extremely close always, just because of his sheer possibilities that he has on the serve. I believe that probably the best surface for him is this kind of a type of hard court here in the States where he’s spent a lot of his time practicing, as well. Coming from South Africa, I’m sure this is the kind of court also he played on.
“Similar to today, I’ve just got to make sure I protect my serve very well and slice maybe sometimes, get into the rallies, and then find a way. So it will be interesting to see how it’s going to go.”
In women’s play, Simona Halep came back from a 1-5 deficit in the second set to stop Qiang Wang, 6-4, 7-5 to reach the final four of Miami. This puts the third seed on track to retake the No. 1 ranking from Naomi Osaka, should she reach the final.
“I just found out from my coach that I need one more match to be No. 1 again,” Halep said to media. “I think it’s pretty much in my head, and I’m happy that I’m in this position again. Gives me confidence, because staying two months in the offseason, I didn’t believe I would be so close again so fast.
“So it’s going to be a big challenge, but I like to play with the pressure. So I hope tomorrow I play my best.”
The French Open winner will play No. 5 seed Karolina Pliskova for a spot in the final.
Pliskova beat Czech countrywoman Marketa Vondrousova 6-3, 6-4.
“It’s going to be a tough match and a big challenge, “ Halep said of her contest versus Pliskova. “Against Pliskova is always tough. We played many matches, but every match is difficult. I will just be ready for my semifinals.”